• Motivating Students

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    Motivating students in a language class is a perennial problem for English teachers.

    Motivation has become more commonly recognized as perhaps the major determining factor for successful learning in general, whether one is an adult learner taking distance education courses or a high school student pushing one’s way through the battery of required courses need to graduate. In any learning setting, the dynamics of motivation will be different.

    What will help a high school student sustain motivation may not apply to an adult learner or child, for example.

    The problem is that in many ESL/EFL learning environments, there is an attitude among educators and administrators that “it is up to the student” to be successful. When students fall behind, or are not progressing, they are considered to be lazy or lacking aptitude, but the deeper source of the problem is not considered.

    Instruction, which the learner perceives to be incomprehensible or irrelevant to their learning goals, will exacerbate affective issues, which can hinder motivation.

    In spite of the realization by experts in the fields of second language acquisition and learning theory about the importance of motivation, instruction design in the formal classroom setting has been slow to catch up to current research indicating that student motivation can be generated through effective instruction design and teaching strategies.

    How can we motivate the students and get them back “into” our class?

    One sure - fire way to get our students to motivated is to offer them small prizes or treats to do the task at hand. We will have a class full of highly motivated, participating students.

    They may even learn something from the activity. However, by giving the children prizes and treats to motivate them we’ll end up with an empty pocketbook and a class full of students who are only motivated for the material prize, not because they want to learn.

    There are many other ways to motivate our students:

    Be more than just a teacher

    No matter what your class demographics are, there is one sur way to motivate your class into participating. Get them interested in you as their teacher and the interest in your subject matter and class activities will soon follow.

    You’re not just a teacher, you’re person too

    Sometimes students tend to have the mentality that teachers are just teachers. They exist in school and nowhere lese. However, if you let them see you as a person and not just a teacher you might see a change in how they react to your class and class activities.

    Keep yourself motivated

    Think back to what classes you like best and why. If the teacher was bored and didn’t make the subject interesting, then the children often didn’t like the lesson either.

    To keep yourself motivated, change your activities to things that you are excited about.

    Be an individual

    Don’t be afraid to talk about your interests outside the school. Look for commonalities between you and your students and capitalize on them.

    Encourage

    When you’re frustrated with your class because they don’t seem interested in participating, it’s quite easy to forget that eve if they do something small, you need to keep encouraging and to stay positive.

    If the students do not feel encouraged and good about learning then they will not feel motivated to learn.

    Play games

    Implement games that have the same outcome that you might have them reach by doing a worksheet. When you play games, you can use points and competition as a motivator.

    Get them moving

    Movement is a visual component to motivating children. Even if you just require them to come up to you instead of you going to them for help, the movement can help get them out of the trance that they sometimes get from sitting in one spot too long.

    Grouping the students for study project and activities helps as well.

    Every class is different and the experienced teacher should adapt all activities for the class.

    Literature:

    Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 261-271.

    Driscoll, M.P. (1994). Psychology of learning for instruction. MA: Division of Paramount Publishing.

    Malone, M.R. & Lepper, M.R. (1983). Making learning fun. In R.E. Snow & J.F. Marshall (Eds.), Aptitude, learning, and instruction: Cognitive and affective process analyses (Vol. 3, pp.223-253). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Schiefele, U. (1991). Interest, learning, and motivation. Educational Psychologist, 26(3,4), 299-323.

    Klara Sedlakova


  • Motivation in the Classroom

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    Walking into a class full of students who are apathetic and show little or no interest in the subject matter is daunting and discouraging for any teacher. Not every student comes running to class with his/her homework completed and energetically participates in all activities and discussions. Nearly anybody can stand in front of a class and put words and sentences on the board, however, without knowing how to motivate the student, all lesson points will be lost. If the student is motivated then he/she will perform much better both in the classroom and outside the classroom.

    Students are motivated in different ways, either intrinsically or extrinsically. The student who is intrinsically motivated learns because he/she wants to whereas the extrinsically motivated student learns to earn a reward or to avoid punishment. All students can be motivated, either intrinsically or extrinsically, but it is the job of the teacher to make sure that the classroom is set up to ensure student success. The teacher motivates the student by using relevant material, creating a comfortable environment, and maintaining a good teacher- student relationship.

    To motivate the student, the teacher must capture the student’s attention and develop the desire within each individual to learn and succeed. To do this, the teacher needs to use and create material that is interesting and relevant to the individuals being taught. If the student is able to relate to the material that he/she is learning, then he/she is more likely to retain that information. Not only will the student retain the information, but he/she will also concentrate on the task. The material given to the student should be challenging but not impossible to complete. Tasks that are too difficult for the student will lead to frustration and discourage further participation. In the classroom, there should be constant positive feedback thus encouraging future participation.

    It is also important to create a comfortable environment in which the student does not feel threatened or intimidated. Feeling comfortable in the classroom will lead to increased student participation and student confidence. The classroom atmosphere should be inviting, open and secure. A confident, well-prepared teacher will exude security and comfort. The confident teacher conveys his/her attitude to the students thus further contributing to the pleasant environment already created.

    Finally, there must be a positive relationship between the student and teacher. It is important for the student to trust and feel comfortable with the teacher. To promote a good student-teacher relationship, the teacher should be enthusiastic, caring, and positive. During each lesson, the teacher needs to give constant positive feedback encouraging students. Student participation and enthusiasm will increase if the teacher is personable and interacts with the students.

    Every teacher desires to have a classroom full of self-motivated and enthusiastic students, however it does not always begin that way. The teacher should invest the time and effort to motivate all students. Not only do motivated students perform better in the classroom, but there are also generally fewer behavioral problems. If teachers can successfully motivate his/her students, he/she will notice an increase in classroom productivity and control. Though it is important to motivate the student in the classroom, the teacher should also strive to motivate the student outside the classroom. Giving students the skills to succeed in many aspects of life can begin in the classroom.

    Bliss Mulligan

  • Motivation in the Classroom

    Expand

    Walking into a class full of students who are apathetic and show little or no interest in the subject matter is daunting and discouraging for any teacher. Not every student comes running to class with his/her homework completed and energetically participates in all activities and discussions. Nearly anybody can stand in front of a class and put words and sentences on the board, however, without knowing how to motivate the student, all lesson points will be lost. If the student is motivated then he/she will perform much better both in the classroom and outside the classroom.

    Students are motivated in different ways, either intrinsically or extrinsically. The student who is intrinsically motivated learns because he/she wants to whereas the extrinsically motivated student learns to earn a reward or to avoid punishment. All students can be motivated, either intrinsically or extrinsically, but it is the job of the teacher to make sure that the classroom is set up to ensure student success. The teacher motivates the student by using relevant material, creating a comfortable environment, and maintaining a good teacher- student relationship.

    To motivate the student, the teacher must capture the student’s attention and develop the desire within each individual to learn and succeed. To do this, the teacher needs to use and create material that is interesting and relevant to the individuals being taught. If the student is able to relate to the material that he/she is learning, then he/she is more likely to retain that information. Not only will the student retain the information, but he/she will also concentrate on the task. The material given to the student should be challenging but not impossible to complete. Tasks that are too difficult for the student will lead to frustration and discourage further participation. In the classroom, there should be constant positive feedback thus encouraging future participation.

    It is also important to create a comfortable environment in which the student does not feel threatened or intimidated. Feeling comfortable in the classroom will lead to increased student participation and student confidence. The classroom atmosphere should be inviting, open and secure. A confident, well-prepared teacher will exude security and comfort. The confident teacher conveys his/her attitude to the students thus further contributing to the pleasant environment already created.

    Finally, there must be a positive relationship between the student and teacher. It is important for the student to trust and feel comfortable with the teacher. To promote a good student-teacher relationship, the teacher should be enthusiastic, caring, and positive. During each lesson, the teacher needs to give constant positive feedback encouraging students. Student participation and enthusiasm will increase if the teacher is personable and interacts with the students.

    Every teacher desires to have a classroom full of self-motivated and enthusiastic students, however it does not always begin that way. The teacher should invest the time and effort to motivate all students. Not only do motivated students perform better in the classroom, but there are also generally fewer behavioral problems. If teachers can successfully motivate his/her students, he/she will notice an increase in classroom productivity and control. Though it is important to motivate the student in the classroom, the teacher should also strive to motivate the student outside the classroom. Giving students the skills to succeed in many aspects of life can begin in the classroom.

    Bliss Mulligan


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